Filtering by Category: Weird

Mexican standoff

Just ran across this concept (defintion by Urban Dictionnary):

The awkward scenario where one person goes to kiss another on the cheek and the recipient moves for the mouth (or vice versa). This results in a repeated back and forth movement where both parties keep moving to rectify their facial position, creating a kung fu movie visual.

Why do I blog this? in terms of coordination theories (I am interested in coordination as a collaborative processes with social and cognitive processes), this seems to be a failure. This Mutally Assured Destruction is interesting as the a potential miscoordination problem. And of course focusing on problem is a good way to understand how collaboration works.

"Leisure time" by Pierre la Police

More and more intriguing is the work of Pierre la Police, who is definitely my favorite french comic book writer. His last piece of work "Leisure Time" is an odd 50-pages foldable book. A bit expensive (200 euros), it addresses the notion of "leisure", illustrating the leitmotiv "let's have fun a bit" ("profitez un peu" in french) with diverse representations of modern world situations ranging from surfing to pressing a button that would deliver tea or putting little masks on one's nails. He seems to be more and more into the same vein as Glen Baxter, which is worthwile too.

Why the hell do I blog this in a tech-oriented blog? because in my opinion Pierre la Police is one the most exciting thinker (with a cryptic humorous spin, at least to some folks) lately. The way he is depicting objects and artifacts is so representative of peculiar "technosocial situations". For instance, here is an old story extracted from (scanned here) the adventures of "Les Frères Thémistècles":

(captions: With his pager, Fongor contacts the mutant Chris Themistecle / But Chris is in Brasil and he's playing Zorro with his nudist adopted uncle / And now his pager is ringing in the pocket of his little jacket / But the jacket is still in his room in the United States of America)

Besides, I also found the way he works very compelling, as described in this interview:

Do you work according to specific plans or do you rely on your intuition ?

The way I set to work is different each time. I often accumulate elements that I classify according to a personal logic. I have piles of pictures with crabs, boxes filled up with magazines specialized in the study of charcoal. Sometimes all that gets mixed up, and when looking at this chaos, I manage to extract stories from it. Just in the same way you would remove sausages from a barbecue. It often occurred that things I had imagined eventually happened in real life. That’s not really surprising, it happens to everyone.

This nicely expresses how connection between dots (knowledge, people, ideas, meme) can be done today.

World of Warcraft Fitness Program

WoW-addicted Mirweis sent me this WoW Fitness Program!:

Let's face it, if you're the typical WoW addict, you don't spend much time outside or away from your computer desk. (...) For each exercise below, I've given a basic starting point for how many times you should do each exercise. Remember, you have plenty of opportunities to squeeze these in over the course of a several hour WoW playing session... without having to leave your seat!

The website goes on with the description of movements using WoW gifs:

Early version of a dinosaur spime

I just had fun with this early version of a spime in the form of a dinosaur model. The recipe is quite simple (does not require some hardcore DYI capabilities), and I confront it to the spimes characteristics (from the Wikipedia). 1. Go to : Download a Dinosaur, select one of them, print it out. (one of the characteristic of a spime is "5. Ways to rapidly prototype virtual objects into real ones.” and I expect that "4. Tools to virtually construct nearly any kind of object; computer-aided design" has been used to design those dinosaurs).

2. Go to Kaywa QR code generator, create a QR code like the following one, print it out and stick it to the paper dinosaur (this is 1. Small, inexpensive means of remotely and uniquely identifying objects over short ranges;, ok normally it would be arphids, the canonical identificator but QR codes are cheaper and paper-based ). It will be the identity of my raptor ("Johnny Raptor"): qrcode

Here's the final version:

(It also has another Qrcode on the other side that points to the url of the Wikipedia definition of spimes)

And yes it's a cradle-to-cradle object, I only used recycled paper than can be recycled. What I only miss is "A mechanism to precisely locate something on Earth, such as a global-positioning system." and "A way to mine large amounts of data for things that match some given criteria, like internet search engines"

3. Take a cell phone, install kaywa reader and check what the raptor says when you pass it close to it.

Why do I blog this? summer fun, this is just a quick funny thing done during lunch time because it was too HOT here. And not this is not a spime.

Ink printings SL

Recursive Instruments has superb pictures of what they call "Ink printing the primitive Metaverse" (prints from their current show at the Aho Museum in Second Life):

Entitled Recusions, the works depict situations you will find every day in Second Life, from play to punishment. The trappings of technology are both removed and exploited to examine the evolution of media’s effect on the evolution of self. Snapshots from Second Life are digitally altered to allow a Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) mill to sculpt their contours. The result is a woodblock used for traditional ink printing

Portable Zebra Crossing

Just in case you need it: Portable Zebra Crossing:

The Pedestrian's Best Friend: The tyranny of the automobile makes life increasingly tough for ecoconscious pedestrians, and finding a safe place to cross can result in inconvenient diversions and wasted time. Now the pedestrian can fight back. When you've found the crossing point that best suits you, simply roll out the the Portable Zebra Crossing in front of you and cross confidently and in safety at your own pace.

Warning: on busy roads where there is no break in the oncoming traffic, attempting to roll out the Portable Zebra Crossing can be hazardous.

Why do I blog this? do it yourself city reconfiguration (for your own pedestrian purposes) is an interesting phenomenon, from the "city user" point of view. It reminds me this story of a guy who, a few days ago, exchanged roadsigns because he drove too fast (he then exchanged speed limits signs).

A machine to create new dishes

The A machine to create new dishes is a project carried out by INRA (the french agronomy research institution) which is geared toward the production of a machine which creates new dishes or cocktails, not on the basis of the sentiments expressed by a tune but from formulae developed by Hervé This to describe the dispersed systems formed by foods (meringues, sauces, meats, fish, vegetables, etc.). Inspired by Boris Vian's Pianococktail, it goes like this:

Hervé This1 presented a method to describe the complex dispersed systems applicable not only to food preparations such as mousses, emulsions, suspensions, gels, aerosols, etc., but also to other dispersed systems: paint, cosmetics, etc. However, an understanding that any food preparation is in fact only a "dispersed" system was only half of the battle. (...) In February 2003, the researchers set up a trial run with mashed potato, oil and water, and aligned two microreactors in series (see photo opposite), in order to demonstrate the formula (G+H+S)/E.

Berlusconi and neuropsychology

How Berlusconi keeps his face: a neuropsychological study in a case of a semantic dementia by Sara Mondini and Carlo Semenza, Cortex, 3, pp. 332-335, 2006.

Abstract: A patient (V.Z.) is described as being affected by progressive bilateral atrophy of the mesial temporal lobes resulting in semantic dementia. Vis-à -vis virtually nil recognition of even the most familiar faces (including those of her closest relatives) as well as of objects and animals, V.Z. could nevertheless consistently recognize and name the face of Silvio Berlusconi, the mass media tycoon and current Italian Prime Minister. The experimental investigation led to the conclusion that Mr Berlusconi’s face was seen as an icon rather than as a face. This telling effect of Mr Berlusconi’s pervasive propaganda constitutes an unprecedented case in the neuropsychological literature.

(thanks gaelle!)

RFID TAG reader

Seen at the EPFL today, this RFID tag reader which has been recently installed (maybe to recently): RFID reader

Why do I blog this? this is a nice example of a transition from the previous "ubiquitous" platform: from a barcode reader to a RFID tag reader. The tangibility of the reader makes the architecture more difficult to be changed.

Extreme behavior

I am always mesmerized by sort of attitude: 70,000 Beer Cans Found in Ogden Townhouse:

When property manager Ryan Froerer got a call from a realtor last year to check on a townhouse, he knew something was up. Ryan Froerer, Century 21: "As we approached the door, there were beer boxes, all the way up to the ceiling."

Inside, he took just a few snapshots to document the scene. Beer cans by the tens of thousands. Mountains of cans burying the furniture. The water and heat were shut off, apparently on purpose by the tenant, who evidently drank Coors Light beer exclusively for the eight years he lived there.

The cans were recycled for 800 dollars, an estimated 70,000 cans: 24 beers a day for 8 years.

Why do I blog this? it's a quirky but I am impressed by this sort of squalor behavior... Extreme user of cans...

A fax machine from 1912

The "belinographe" (a.k.a. belino) is the ancestor of the fax machine. Designed by french inventor Edouard Belin in 1907-1912. It used to allow the transfer of pictures: a telephoto transmitter. According to adventures in cybersound:

His invention involved placing an image on a cylinder and scanning it with a powerful light beam that had a photoelectric cell which could convert light, or the absence of light, into transmittable electrical impulses. The Belinograph process used the basic principle upon which all subsequent facsimile transmission machines would be based.

(picture source) Why do I blog this? it's an interesting protozoic fax machine. I like to observe early representations of today's object (the fax is not a yesterday object yet).

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Nice laptop carrier

Netto is a curious laptop carrier by german designer Tonia Welter:

The standard plastic bag in a new sense: on journeys and trips, inventive laptop owners wrap their best piece just into a plastic bag or nap film to create a kind of trash-look as an effective protection against thieves.

NETTO picks up this “art of improvisation” and transforms it into a product.

How it works: The double-walled bag has a valve, which makes it inflatable. The black inside of the bag works as camouflage for every black laptop. As the inner bag is shorter than the outer, the laptop is surrounded by an air bag from all sides including the bottom.

"You're The Man Now, Dog!"

Among the curious trend on the web lately, I am quite fascinated by YTMND:

YTMND, an acronym for "You're The Man Now, Dog!", is a website community that centers on the creation of YTMNDs, which are pages featuring a juxtaposition of a single image, optionally animated and/or tiled, along with large zooming text and a looping sound file. Most of these images are created or edited by users. Most YTMNDs are meant to expose or reflect the more inane facets of pop culture. Wikipedia definition)

Why do I blog this? I am always intrigued by some of the web trend regarding weird content reshaped by users. What is very powerful here is the level of private joke/common references those folks have.

My favorite is this one and of course the mac gyver one.

A frog with an implanted webserver

I think I saw this project on Regine's blog: Experiments in Galvanism: Frog with Implanted Webserver by Garnet Hertz:

Experiments in Galvanism is the culmination of studio and gallery experiments in which a miniature computer is implanted into the dead body of a frog specimen. Akin to Damien Hirst's bodies in formaldehyde, the frog is suspended in clear liquid contained in a glass cube, with a blue ethernet cable leading into its splayed abdomen. The computer stores a website that enables users to trigger physical movement in the corpse: the resulting movement can be seen in gallery, and through a live streaming webcamera. Risa Horowitz (2003)

Why do I blog this? an intriguing biotech concept connected to the the origins of electricity, which is here transcripted in the world of internet connectivity? Does a dead frog can be used as proxy to reach BoingBoing from countries that do not allow their citizens to access it?

3D printing + RFID

Sherpa Design (a mechanical engineering services company specializing in design and product development, through 3D printing) and RFTrax have worked out this odd concept:

Project/Experience: RFID security system for shipping containers enclosure design and development

Working closely with the client's RFID and IR Supply Chain security technology group Sherpa Design has developed a number of enclosure and bracket assemblies that can be adapted to a variety of different applications. The housings can mount to the inside of most shipping containers used throughout the world as well as crates, mail bins, and other types of containers. These RFID Tags had to be environmentally rugged for the extreme conditions they experience during international transit.

Drawing on our experience with plastics, security systems, and sheet metal we delivered functioning prototypes for the client to be first to market with this new RFID technology. From conceptual models and prototypes (plaster and FDM), to detailed mechanical design, mold construction, and assembled working units for field trials, we helped them get there.

Sherpa Design continues to provide complete molded part and bracket assemblies and assist with their ongoing design and development programs.

I actually don't get the whole meaning of this... almost an instantiation of a spime? This company do 3D modeling/prototyping but I don't really get what they designed here with RFID tags, might be a tracking system for containers but is the RFID included in the object?

Airfoild ring for CD/DVD to safely toss them into the air

A curious patent: FLEXIBLE AIRFOIL RING FOR SAFETY FLYING CDS AND DVDS

An annular protective ring attachment designed to grip the outer peripheral edge of all compact discs (CDs) and digital video discs (DVDs) which, when used in combination with said CD or DVD, creates an airfoil. The airfoil ring consists of an inner periphery, which is molded to form a top lip (3) and bottom lip (4), and between these lips, a gripping mouth (6), which securely holds the CD or DVD (7, 76) inside the aperture of the airfoil ring. The body of the airfoil ring is curved in such a way as to create an airfoil adequate to enable the airfoil ring with inserted CD or DVD to be safely tossed into the air and to exhibit controllability in flight